Educational Resources for Homeschooling Preschool

Overhead girl using digital tablet on floor
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I am a firm believer that free play and exploration make the best homeschool curriculum for preschoolers. However, I can’t deny how much fun it is to teach a preschooler. We began homeschooling when my second and third children were one- and three-years-old, and I loved doing a morning “circle time” with them.

We’d add the day’s date to our calendar bulletin board set; talk about yesterday, today, and tomorrow; and discuss the number, shape, and color of the week.

It was fun for all of us and never felt as though I was pushing them academically.

The excitement to start homeschooling can also be a deciding factor in seeking out educational resources for preschoolers, particularly for eager parents whose oldest child is the preschooler.

While I maintain that play is learning for young children, incorporating some formal learning isn’t a bad idea if you and your child both enjoy it, though it’s wise to keep lessons short and interactive.

If your little one has older homeschooled siblings, there is a high probability that he is asking for his own schoolwork. It’s not uncommon for younger siblings to desire to emulate the big kids.

Even if you’re not homeschooling, you may wish to prepare your preschooler for kindergarten at home, rather than sending her to daycare or a Pre-K program.

Whatever your reasons for wanting to teach your 2-5 year old, I’ve collected some of my favorite resources from when my kids were younger, along with newer additions that I wish we’d had available, and recommendations from parents of preschoolers.

Printables and Hands-on Learning

If you’re considering formal learning for your young children, you’re likely planning to cover topics such as the alphabet, numbers, shapes, and colors. Some of my favorite options include:

Letter of the Week. When teaching my preschoolers, one of my favorite resources was the Letter of the Week curriculum, a free online resource that covers all the basic topics in an easy-to-follow format.

It features a new theme each week, along with the letter of the week and a color or shape (colors and shapes are alternated).

Being the bibliophile that I am, I loved the fact that each week also included read-aloud suggestions to go with the current theme. This offered us a great excuse to visit the library each week and take advantage of Story Time while we were there.

Letter of the Week from Confessions of a Homeschooler. I adore the Letter of the Week curriculum from Confessions of a Homeschooler and would have used it with my kids if it had been around back then. There is a nominal fee for downloading the entire set plus bonus printables as one download, but all of the curriculum (excluding the bonus pages) is also available as individual free printable sets if you don't mind downloading them individually.

The curriculum covers letters, shapes, numbers, colors, as well as logic and fine motor skills practice, songs, calendar, and more.

The author also has an adorable daily learning notebook for early learners that features activities often covered in a circle time format, such as time, weather, calendar, and tracing pages.

ABCs of Snacking. I always enjoyed doing themed activities with my kids, such as extension activities with the following picture books:

Themed activities demand themed snacks. All About Learning Press features a list of snack ideas for each letter of the alphabet. You can also make an adorable set of fabric letters for hands-on play.

Apps and Websites

Technology and screen time can get a bad rap, but used judiciously, websites and apps can be a fantastic learning tool for preschoolers. My niece, who is almost 3-years-old, can probably navigate a tablet better than I can.

The ability of preschoolers to navigate apps on their own can be a homeschooling parent’s saving grace. When you need to work with an older child, carefully-selected websites and apps can keep a young child constructively occupied – for at least a few minutes.

Following are apps that have been recommended to me by parents of preschoolers:

ABC Mouse. ABC Mouse features a subscription website, with a free 30-day trial, and an app. The app requires a site membership. The site features eight levels for children ages 2-7, with 650 lessons and thousands of learning activities. The activities cover reading and language arts; math; science and social studies; and art and colors.

Starfall. Starfall has a longstanding reputation in the homeschooling community for being an outstanding resource for teaching children to read. They have expanded their site to include math for early learners and both a kindergarten and preschool curriculum. The basic website is free, along with the apps, but they also offer a subscription service to provide even more content.

Monkey Preschool Lunchbox. Kids ages 2-5 can practice colors, matching, counting, patterns, and comparing with the Monkey Preschool Lunchbox app. The app features an engaging monkey who is quite particular about what goes into his lunchbox – fruit of only a certain color for example.  Designed for kids to play on their own, the app includes six educational games for preschoolers.

Animatch. Animatch is an adorable matching game for preschoolers featuring the faces of such familiar animals as frogs, cows, cats, and chickens. It doesn’t offer a lot of frills – it’s just a basic matching game – but it’s good for preschoolers to practice categorizing and comparing (same/different) and improve their attention/memory. It's available on Google Play, the iTunes store, and on Amazon.

Leapfrog’s Letter Factory DVD. While it’s not an app or a website, ever since my younger kids used it, Leapfrog’s Letter Factory DVD has been a standard gift from me to the  2-year-olds in my life for birthdays or Christmas. It’s a captivating story featuring Tad the frog and his siblings who are visiting the letter factory where words are made.

It teaches letter recognition and correctly identifies the basic sounds of each letter of the alphabet, such as the /ks/ sound (as in fox) for x instead of the sometimes-confusing /z/ sound (as in xylophone). After just a few viewings, my children (and my gift recipients) were singing the catchy little song that helps young children remember the letter sounds.

And finally, don’t miss VeryWell’s preschool site. It’s a wealth of information for parents of preschoolers, covering topics such as nutrition, learning and education, development, and technology.

Teaching preschoolers should be fun and definitely needs to feature lots of time for play and exploration, but spending some time on formal learning can be fun for both of you, too. As long as you and your preschooler are enjoying the selected resources and not feeling pressured to perform, some well-chosen educational preschool resources can make an exciting addition to your homeschool day.

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Bales, Kris. "Educational Resources for Homeschooling Preschool." ThoughtCo, Aug. 31, 2016, thoughtco.com/educational-resources-for-homeschooling-preschool-4082214. Bales, Kris. (2016, August 31). Educational Resources for Homeschooling Preschool. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/educational-resources-for-homeschooling-preschool-4082214 Bales, Kris. "Educational Resources for Homeschooling Preschool." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/educational-resources-for-homeschooling-preschool-4082214 (accessed December 13, 2017).